It’s officially official: fans are coming back to Wrigley Field for Opening Day.
Today, the Chicago Cubs and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox will be permitted 20% capacity in April, starting with the Cubs opener against the Pirates on April 1. The seating will be socially distanced, there will be masking requirements, and there will be other safety measures in place. But for the first time in a year and a half, there will be SOME fans at Wrigley Field to watch the Cubs play baseball.
At Wrigley Field, 20% capacity is just shy of 8300 tickets, much of which will be allocated to season ticket holders, and the rest of which will be made available via lottery (see details in the release below). There are more details expected as soon as tomorrow. How the attendance capacity adjusts as the season goes on remains to be seen. If, as is planned, vaccines are available for all adult Americans by June, we could see attendance caps around baseball rise rapidly or even be lifted entirely over the summer.
As for the 20%, the Cubs had reportedly asked for 30% initially, but everything is negotiated in Chicago. For now, 20% will have to do, and I presume the possibility is there to increase very soon if justified by how things go early on, and by the state of the pandemic.
The full release:
Following approvals from the State of Illinois and City of Chicago, the Chicago Cubs are ready to welcome fans back to the Friendly Confines for the start of the 2021 regular season. The team is approved to host 20% of Wrigley Field’s capacity beginning with the April 1 home opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cubs will have an opportunity to increase capacity during the regular season subject to further approvals from the City and State.
“To welcome Cubs fans home to Wrigley Field and bring back one of the joys of spring after a challenging year is incredibly rewarding,” said Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney. “We’d like to thank Governor Pritzker and Mayor Lightfoot for their tremendous leadership in carefully navigating this important milestone and partnering with us on our plan to safely return fans to the ballpark. As the City continues on the path to safely reopen, we’re excited to finally say, ‘Welcome home, Cubs fans!’”
In preparation for the return of fans, the Cubs organization has taken extensive measures to ensure the team can provide a safe environment for its players, staff and fans. From thorough sanitization procedures and rigorous staff guidelines to processes that minimize touchpoints, the team’s health and safety plan was developed using guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the State of Illinois, City of Chicago and Major League Baseball (MLB).
The plan includes the following key components:
– Limited-capacity, pod-style seating for physical distancing
– Required masking for all guests two years or older
– Touchless entry screening process
– Tickets available exclusively as mobile tickets
– Cashless retail and concessions
– Thorough sanitization procedures
“In coordination with MLB, top health experts and local officials, we developed a comprehensive plan that prioritizes the health and safety of our players, staff and fans,” said Kenney. “Our goal is to create a safe, clean and friendly environment for everyone to enjoy Cubs baseball beginning Opening Day.”
As part of the Cubs’ Opening Day celebration, the club has dedicated the Budweiser Bleachers to host vaccinated health care workers and employees from Advocate Aurora Health as a way to thank them for their tireless effort fighting the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year.
Cubs Season Ticket Holders will receive priority access to secure tickets in advance of the general public starting the week of March 15. In order to ensure as many Cubs fans as possible have the opportunity to experience Cubs baseball live, the club is also offering the Return to Wrigley Presale Access Program, an opportunity for fans to register for random drawings to win a chance to purchase tickets to regular season home games.
The cut-off date for the first drawing is Friday, March 19. For the first homestand, winners will have the opportunity to purchase a limited number of tickets Tuesday, March 23, with any remaining tickets going on sale to the general public Wednesday, March 24. Private spaces for groups of eight or more also will be available. Additional details will be announced Tuesday, March 9.